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The Proper Technique for Trimming Toenails

The Proper Technique for Trimming Toenails

Although it may seem like a fairly simple task on the surface, proper technique when trimming toenails plays a large role in preventing ingrown toenails and infections.

Ingrown toenails, which grow into the surrounding flesh instead of growing normally, are a primary reason for foot pain and can lead to serious infection.

It’s important to remember to always wash your feet and dry them thoroughly before trimming your toenails, making right after you get out of the shower an ideal time to cut your nails.

Only ever use proper tools to cut or treat your nails, such as nail clippers or manicure scissors, instead of sharp cutting tools such as razor blade, knives or regular scissors to avoid injury.

If you have a health condition, such as diabetes, have a podiatrist help with your toenail trimming in order to avoid ingrown nails and minor foot injuries that can develop into ulcers and turn into more serious health problems.

Everyone’s nails grow at different speeds, so there’s no set time frame for how often you should trim your toenails. It’s best to simply monitor them while making sure to trim before they start rubbing against your shoes.

As for proper technique, the following tips should help keep your nails in good shape:

Cut straight across: Guide the clippers straight across the nail of each toe to avoid rounding the nail’s corners or cutting the sides at an angle, which can lead the corners to grow toward your skin and become ingrown.

Check the size: When choosing the right nail clippers, size does matter! A larger clipper should be used to cut toenails in order to get a proportional cut.

Keep it clean: Always clean and disinfect your clippers with rubbing alcohol before and after using them.

Check the length: The edge of the nail should reach the tip of your toe.

Not too short: It’s important to never go overboard when cutting your nails. Cutting your nails too should could results in ingrown toenails.

Keep it dry: It’s better to cut your nails when they are dry as wet nails may be likely to tear, bend, or not cut smoothly because they’re softer when wet.

Small cuts: Make a few small cuts across your nail rather than trying to clip the entire nail at once. An infected toe will quickly erase any pride you felt for being the nail-cutting master!

Don’t cut cuticles: Cutting cuticles can cause bleeding or infection.

Contact and Follow 

Follow Dr. Goldbaum on Twitter @Delray_Podiatry

The content on this website is for informational purposes only. Do not rely or act upon information from without seeking professional medical advice. If you live in South Florida and would like a consultation with Dr. Ian Goldbaum, a podiatric physician and surgeon with over 30 years of experience, please see our contact information below:


16244 S. Military Trail #290, Delray Beach, FL 33484



2900 N. Military Trail #210, Boca Raton, FL 33431 (SOUTH BLDG)



8198 Jog Road #100, Boynton Beach, FL 33472




General Podiatry

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